Reviewed by Kat
TITLE: Love and Snowball Fights
SERIES: A Christmas Valley Story
AUTHOR: J. R. Loveless
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 116 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 21, 2016
Lane Freeman supposed there were worse places to be dumped than a place named Christmas Valley. After being ejected from the foster care system, he spent the past five years hitchhiking and moving around. But six months of a steady job at Tal’s Bar and Grill, an apartment, and even a three-legged cat have him almost ready to risk putting down a few roots when Tal’s brother comes home for the holidays.
Dallas firefighter Trey Jenkins reluctantly accepts that Lane isn’t like the other drifters who’ve come through his brother’s place. A fragile attraction begins to bloom between them in spite of the many reasons they each have to fight it. Trey wants to give Lane a family, but experience has taught Lane to depend on no one but himself. Will winter love burn hot in the town called Christmas Valley or will Lane return to his wandering ways?
This is a new-to-me author that I am thrilled to say I am so pleased to have found.
Lane Freeman hasn’t had the easiest life. His parents are taken from him by a fatal automobile accident, at the ripe old age of fifteen, forcing him into the foster care system. His only lover had been jerked from him, in a compromising position, and he was sent away. He was left on his own, to fend for himself, when he aged out of foster care. When he got left in the small town of Christmas Valley, Washington, by the truck driver he was hitching with, he found a seemingly safe place. He is extremely and awkwardly shy around people he didn’t know, a product of his lack of trust in mankind. But when he lands a job with Tal, at his restaurant and bar as a bus boy, finds a three legged cat that becomes his best friend and companion, and rents a small efficiency apartment in town, Lane is finally a tad bit comfortable with his life. He likes and trusts his boss. But when his boss’s brother shows up, and starts questioning his intent, things start going badly. No surprise since he knew he was bad luck anyway. Trey Jenkins is wary of the new bus boy. His brother didn’t always chose the most honorable employees and the kid just seems off. But soon he discovers that, not only is Lane trustworthy, but the hot guy totally floats his boat. When the two get stranded in a snowstorm after a car accident, Trey takes charge like he always does in an emergency situation. Lane is thankful but, when Trey makes it clear he is into him, he freezes up. Trey is leaving after New Years and Lane can’t go through another loss in his life. It will devastate him. “Love and Snowball Fights” is the sweet Christmas, feel-good story of how Lane learns to trust not only other people but his own feelings also.
Lane is a walking time-bomb of extreme anxiety and social awkwardness. He had always been a shy boy and preferred the world inside his beloved books to the harsh world surrounding him. When Mal gives him a chance, and then earns his trust, it’s a pretty big deal. But that is the kind of guy Mal is, very much like his mother. Trey is out and proud, plays hard, works hard and is used to getting what he wants. Enter a very shy and beautiful young man into his life and Trey doesn’t have a clue how to get Lane. He knows the man is into him but he is so encased in a huge wall that he can’t get inside. And now, for the first time in his life, Trey is jealous of Mal!
The pace does move a bit slowly but that really works for this story. Lane could barely handle all the changes as it was and rushing would have been totally wrong. I am going to say, without giving anything away, that the last chapter had my anxiety going crazy.
Short, sweet book that didn’t seem short at all. I really enjoyed this little Christmas gift.